Auction.com scoops up former legal chiefs from Yahoo!

The former general counsel and deputy general counsel of Yahoo! have joined online real estate website Auction.com alongside Yahoo!’s former Asia Pacific legal head Eugene Lao.

Former Yahoo! general counsel Mike Callahan joined Auction.com earlier this year as chief legal officer and executive vice president based in the US company’s Silicon Valley office. 

Since he joined Callahan has expanded the website’s legal team with the subsequent addition of two former Yahoo! colleagues – deputy Yahoo! head of legal Mindy Heppberger, who joined the company in March, and Eugene Lao, Yahoo!’s former Asia-Pacific general counsel who left for US social gaming company Zygna in 2011. 

Both Heppberger and Lao are understood to have joined Auction.com as deputy general counsel, reporting to Callahan.

Callahan resigned last summer (3 July 2012) after nearly 13 years at the company. He left Ron Bell, deputy general counsel for products and the Americas, to fill the role.

Callahan said in his resignation letter that he was leaving to pursue new opportunities, having joined the company from US firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in 1999, becoming general counsel in 2003 and executive vice-president in 2007. 

The departure came weeks after Callahan advised the online giant on the departure of CEO Scott Thompson, who was dismissed just two months into the job after it was discovered that he had falsely claimed to hold a computer science degree. In his short time as CEO, Thompson made the decision to cut 14 per cent of Yahoo!’s workforce, laying off 2,000 employees in a bid to turn the business’s fortunes around.

Long-standing advisor Skadden acted as lead counsel to Yahoo! in 2012 on a $7.1bn (£4.5bn) deal that saw Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba buy back half of Yahoo!’s 40 per cent stake in the group (21 May 2012). Palo Alto partner Leif King led the firm’s team on the deal.

In an interview for The Lawyer Transatlantic Elite last year King said of Callahan: “Frankly, I’m not sure when he sleeps.”